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Morning Musings

  • Controlling the growth of the regulatory super-state – local, state, and federal – has become a perennial challenge. It will not be tamed in my lifetime, but every effort must be made to do so (I’m in my early forties and looking forward to another four decades plus with you all). Political leaders from both political have created a dependency society that places government as a guarantor of first and last resort for many things including healthcare, insurance, business (think SBA, Ex-Im bank), welfare, and much more. According to a recently study, this costs every American $14,974 a year in hidden regulatory taxes. The Wall Street Journal editorial page today claims this is largely a result of ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and other Obama-year programs. They are partly correct. The Republicans shoulder a great deal of the blame as well. While not even close to Obama’s regulatory madness, the GOP has for decades at all levels of government perpetuated the regulatory super-state. The justly vilified ObamaCare has its political and ideological roots in the Bush II and GOP Congress-led Medicare Part-D drug expansion. Then there is DHS. If you want to tame this free enterprise suffocating beast, and we must, the country needs forward thinking civic, community, business, and political leaders that look away from government for solutions. This is a non-partisan issue. And one vital to our future survival.
  • The sanctions are coming, the sanctions are coming!
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) releases guidance for companies to detect and prevent cyber security attacks.
  • An interesting post by James Bruno on Foggy Bottom and the Russians: “With so many dilettantes in charge of U.S. foreign policy at home and abroad, how can Washington hope to compete with a highly trained Russian diplomatic cadre whose president’s tool kit of statecraft centers on the application of “blackmail, vodka, and the threat to kill” to achieve his ends?” Be sure to read the entire post: Russian Diplomats Are Eating America’s Lunch. Not an endorsement, just a good read. I think Bruno’s frustrations with the political diplomatic corp has more to do with the ideology of the Commander-in-Chief, as well as a Bruno points out, an extremely bloated National Security Council. When one puts global interests ahead of U.S. interests, bad things happen, and will continue to happen that include losing $6,000,000,000 of our tax dollars due to State Department mismanagement.
  • Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at least according to official media accounts, calling it quits. It appears more like he was asked to leave and was replaced. For now, his deputy has taken his place, Gen Youssef al-Idrissi.
  • Be sure to look at an image of [let’s hope not people-to-people travelers] tourists in Cuba, captioned “Yippee! Communism is fun.” It is a made for Rick Steves moment. While you’re there also read a letter from a fellow traveler who, after visiting the island, believes U.S. sanctions should stay in place. Travel tip: visit Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cuba is a dump. It is a living monument to what will happen to any society that adopts Socialism and Communism as a means to organize society.
  • And while on U.S.-Cuba matters, the Left’s Leahy-Menendez feud is taking an ugly turn. I’ll give Cuban regime supporters in this town one thing, they are very persistent, even when they are wrong. They think, erroneously, that New Jersey Democrat and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez is politically weak. U.S. sanctions on Cuba will soon become a thing of past, just as soon as Vermont’s Patrick Leahy, and his Appropriations Committee staff, clean Menendez’s political clock. They better hurry, and cogitate on the following: they’ll need more than Obama’s pen and phone for this project. The Republicans are poised to re-take control of the Senate and, last I checked, you will need to change the law before you can ease the Cuba sanctions.
  • According to The Washington Examiner, Members of Congress are “rallying around the 150-year-old U.S. Capitol Dome, weather-whipped and torn open by acid rain, worried that if an 11th-hour restoration isn’t fully funded, its most important traits could be lost forever.” If only there was that much passion and focus for dealing with out of control federal spending and regulations … By the way, this is not the first time that the Capitol Dome has been repaired. I’m starting to wonder what taxpayers have been paying for the past few decades? Moreover, if the Capitol Dome is in such disrepair, then why did Congress spend $600,000,000+ on an underground Capitol Visitor Center? Think about this for a moment. If the roof of your home was a complete mess, the last thing you would do is spend a lot of money to build an addition to the house for visitors.
  • While The Washington Post celebrates the Edward Snowden Pultizer, an award earned mostly by breaking numerous federal laws as well as endangering U.S. national security, the Post’s Dana Milbank is upset that one of their own has reminded them of their folly. This is the same newspaper that helped facilitate the publication of made more for Hollywood, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security Superstate.  Jeff Bezos really needs to turn that place around. This city needs another newspaper, one grounded in reality and focused on delivering hard news.
  • Your dollars are buying less and less these days at the grocer courtesy of the Obama economic “recovery“: fruit and vegetable prices, going way up;  beef prices spiking, with ground beef costing 56% more than in 2010; milk prices, up; as are fish and bread. Work harder, buy less. To save some money, see if you qualify for a free ObamaPhone to go with your side of subsidized ObamaCare.
  • The United States remains a technological leaders in many fields including drones. Some folks want to keep it that way, others who do not care. In a post-09.11.01 world, tough regulations controlling the export of these devices is a small price to pay for security. Can it be legal and compliance pain? Only if you waste valuable resources lobbying the government to change laws that work, or whining about how you would like things to be. The U.S. legal regime could use improving, but when you read statements by foreign government officials upset with U.S. export control laws, you should understand why these controls are in place to begin with.
  • Congress Republicans need to wake up from the political slumber on immigration reform. It’s been well laid political trap set by the Left. Democratic leaders never had any intention of pressing forward on this issue; they just wanted to placate the Left, immigration groups that fundraise off this issue, and other special, mostly West Coast, interests.
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